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How do I prevent text / html selection on mouse down?

Posted on 2015-02-19
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Last Modified: 2016-02-25
I have a script that highlights a table cell and selects the (hidden) checkbox for a calendar. THe purpose is to create an availability template. For example, if someone is available M-F from 8-12, and then from 1-5, but unavailable for lunch, we can draw it out like this:

Selection-014.png
But I have a usability issue: sometimes (frequently) the dragable actions fail because the action of dragging the mouse causes it to highlight areas of the table. So, the browser thinks I want to move / copy / paste that area.

Selection-013.png
How do I stop the browser from highlighting these areas? I just want to turn it off while over / on the table with the mouse down?
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Question by:DrDamnit
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Expert Comment

by:Tom Beck
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Absolute position and z-index a div with a transparent background over the area you do not want users to be able to highlight. It's similar to having a modal pop up on a page and covering the underlying page with a "screen" to prevent user interaction with the page when the modal is active. The "screen" in that case is nothing more than a div with a semi-transparent background covering the entire viewport and z-indexed between the page content and the modal pop up.
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by:DrDamnit
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An elegant solution that works!

Except it kills my layout. I am using bootstrap, and the table is in a row > col > table set of divs. So, when I go from position relative to position absolute, it kills the layout. How do I fix that?

Before:
Before
After:
after
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by:DrDamnit
Comment Utility
Oh... by the way... my initial thought was: "make the height static", but that won't work because sometimes I show all hours from 8-7, and sometimes all 24 of the day... so it really needs to be position relative unless their is an alternative...
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by:DrDamnit
Comment Utility
Actually, this seems to not work either:

.availabilityTableDiv {
	z-index: 999;
	position:absolute;
	height:550px;
}

Open in new window


Modifies my div:
asdf
But still fails to prevent selection:
uh-oh spaghettios.
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Expert Comment

by:Tom Beck
Comment Utility
Position absolute on the div and position relative on the container that holds the table. The div should be outside of the table but inside the container that holds both. In other words:

<div id="tableWrapper"><!-- position:relative -->
   <table>
   </table>
   <div id="screen"></div><!-- position:absolute, set top and left, width and height, background:transparent, z-index above table -->
</div>

You can set the height of the screen to 100% and add display:table-cell to get it to stretch to the height of the wrapper.
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Expert Comment

by:Tom Beck
Comment Utility
Sorry, after testing my idea does not seem to work fully. It will prevent the user from highlighting text in the time column if the click/drag starts inside the screened area. If the cursor starts anywhere outside the screen, you can still highlight what is inside the screen. Tested here.

http://jsfiddle.net/tommyBoy/f8cjc7o7/
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Accepted Solution

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Tom Beck earned 500 total points
Comment Utility
Check this out. Don't know if it will be 100% cross-browser friendly but it works in my test. Tested in Safari, Firefox, and Chrome on a Mac, latest versions.

http://jsfiddle.net/tommyBoy/f8cjc7o7/3/
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Author Comment

by:DrDamnit
Comment Utility
Doesn't work on Firefox on Linux. Will test on Windows....
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by:DrDamnit
Comment Utility
Never did get a solution to this...
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Author Closing Comment

by:DrDamnit
Comment Utility
Cross browser compatibility wasn't exactly the best, but that's no fault of Tom's. That's just a browser manufacture flaw. These were all great solutions.
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